These New Dating Terms Illustrate Just How Awful Dating Has Become

The language of love isn’t the same as it used to be, partly because very little of it has anything to with love. Since so much of dating takes place through text, millennials have had to create our own code. It’s clear, efficient, and blunt because nobody has any time for coy BS and flowery emails. To understand the scene, you have to learn the lingo – and then you have to brace yourself.

  1. It starts with the slow fade. You know what this is. Everyone who has ever dated knows what this is. The person you’re dating or talking to or interested in slowly becomes less and less available. You date less frequently. S/he rarely texts or calls. Gradually, the whole “relationship” just kind of fizzles. You’ve basically broken off with no fuss, no muss, no fight.
  2. But now you have to worry about ghosting. Ghosting is a more extreme form of the slow fade because it tends to happen faster if not all at once. There are dozens of reasons for someone to go ghost, or to pull a Swayze. It doesn’t matter what those reasons are, though. It never feels awesome when someone you’re into suddenly stops talking to you and seems to disappear off the face of the earth.
  3. The whole concept of mooning probably makes you paranoid. Someone can moon you even if they kind of like you and intend on talking to you – or propositioning you – later. The thing is, you don’t ever really know if it’s happening. When someone moons you, they turn off the notifications for your messages because they DGAF about what you have to say right now. Ouch, right? (The term refers to the half moon icon that appears when you stick your phone on Do Not Disturb.)
  4. You also have to worry about benching. Benching is exactly what it sounds like. This occurs when somebody’s keeping you on the back burner – or on the bench, more appropriately. You might get a chance to play in the game, but only if there are no other prospects. And people say romance is dead.
  5. Someone might be tuning you as we speak. Tuning is like flirting, but not really. This typically occurs between two friends or two people who casually flirt with each other. It also usually involves one person who’s way more interested than the other one. So, let’s say you met a guy at the bar. He’s nice enough, you like hanging out with him, but you’re not into him that way. He is very into you, however, and so he tunes you through text messages – flirts or charms or otherwise tries to change the boundaries of your relationship by making you dig him.
  6. In fact, maybe a laybe is tuning you. A laybe is someone who’s in a relationship, but not happy about it. This person is on the cusp of being single, so s/he’s scoping potential hookups for later, maybe even flirting. A laybe isn’t altogether available right at this moment but plans to be soon and s/he likes to have someone waiting in the wings because, generally, a laybe doesn’t enjoy being single for even half a second.
  7. Hopefully, you don’t meet someone who’s seriously exing. Exing simply means being obsessed with or addicted to your ex and all the attendant drama. For example, if you’re exing, you might be playing on-again/off-again with your ex or you might use some situation with your ex to create a whole bunch of drama. Word to the wise: avoid potential partners who are exing or you might get caught up in the crazy.
  8. Try to avoid getting stuck in a textationship. I have never actually heard anyone use this term, but Cosmo tells me it’s a thing. Not so surprisingly, this is a relationship that takes place almost solely through text messages. If you’re in a relationship where you text each other far more than you actually see each other face to face, it’s probably not going anywhere.
  9. Maybe you’ll get lucky and make a new umfriend. Your umfriend defies definition. There is no label. It refers to your hookup buddy, your booty call, your friend with benefits. You’ve probably even unwittingly used the phrase. “Who’s the dude we saw sneaking out of your apartment this morning?” Your friends ask you. “That’s my, um, friend,” you answer nervously, searching for just the right word. It’s cool. It’s just your umfriend.
  10. Just remember, ask to hang out, don’t ask for a date. Dates are passe, apparently. Ask someone on a date and they’ll think you’re an old head. Millennial dating is about no pressure, having fun, and letting things flow. Labels are out, organic experiences are in, and hanging out is preferable to a traditional date.
west virginia native, new hampshire transplant, parisian in the depths of my unimpressed soul. owner of an impressive resting bitch face. writer and reader. fluent in sarcasm and snark. lover of lower case and the oxford comma.